View Full Version : First Welding Machine

02-09-2008, 09:43 PM
I am looking to buy my first welding machine and was wondering what you experienced folk how to offer for advise.. I know very little about them right now, but I'm reading pages upon pages daily about this craft..

I'm thinking an Arc Welder would probably be best for me, they seem to be less hassle and have a good end result. Although it says it is somewhat difficult to learn, hell I got plenty of time to waste.. solved that problem. I was looking around and found one that seems like a good deal. Now I don't know much about them but I do believe that this one here should be enough for my first machine :P

Tell me what you think and if you think I should choose something else. I am eager to learn and more than happy to hear anything you guys (and gals) have to say.


Thanks in advance,

02-10-2008, 02:12 AM
Figure it will cost you $105 with shipping, unless you could successfully bid for less.
Here's one from Harbor freight, with only 10 bucks for shipping:


I bought one of these from HF refurbished for 50 bucks and used it for a year before I switched to a flux core wire welder. (IMHO, it's easier than learning to strike an arc without the rod sticking. Just pull the trigger and weld. After a year, I still had problems with the rods sticking in hard to reach areas.) I still have the stick welder, and use it from time to time, and kept it mainly as a backup, in case I run out of wire, or the newer welder breaks. It comes with the mask and chipping hammer/wire brush, but bear in mind that no cheap welder comes with a decent helmet or hammer. A decent helmet with an auto darkening lens will cost $50, and figure $10 for a good chipping hammer. You'll also need an assortment of clamps and a wire brush. You can also get a flux core wire welder from HF for $110:


02-10-2008, 06:44 AM
Welll keep an eye open at Canadian Tire usually can find an arc welder for $99 and a flux core wire feed welder for $279. There is also princess auto and they have welders on sale every know and then for about 200 for a flux core one. Saves you on shipping charges and at least with Canadian Tire return policy is simple enuff.

02-10-2008, 05:01 PM
Is this what you were thinking of yyz?


02-10-2008, 08:08 PM
There you go! There's one right in Hamilton, no shipping charges and no waiting.

02-10-2008, 10:18 PM
so now begs a couple more questions.. flex core wire.. which is the one to use? (they also seem pretty expensive.. any place to find cheaper wire?)

and if you guys could teach me a little bit about angle grinders (such as the different attachments) that'd be helpful :)

Richie Rich
02-11-2008, 01:24 AM
Kill yourself, I'll take the credit.. I was going to answer your questions, but I just killed myselllllfffffffff........

Pagan Wizard
02-11-2008, 02:07 AM
This is the welder I recently bought. Too bad I don't have a safe place to use it or even the know how to even try. These forums did connect me however, with a couple people who live only minutes away from me. I am looking forward to meeting up with these guys in the spring so I can not only learn how to use this thing, but get started on my DeltaWolf project.


I also got this set of gloves and helmet to go along with my welder.


02-11-2008, 06:34 PM
MJ; If you patient a stick welder is probably the way to go for the price. I use a little Lincoln 120V mig as flux core, .032 I think. I'm not steady enough any more for a stick welder. Practice, practice, practice is what it is all about. 90% operator 10% machine.

On the above link, 120v stick??? I had a 120v stick welder40 years ago and it wasn't worth the shipping. I think I have seen the lincoln, 240V tombstone stick welders in Craigslist for $60-80 from time to time.

Messiness of welds (IMHO)
Flux core

I spend a bit of time with a cup brush/4" sidegrinder cleaning up afterwards.


02-11-2008, 08:21 PM
yeah that would be it MJyou can also try Canadian tire they cary one that can be converted to gas in the future as you progress.
http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=84552444329 9187&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=1408474396672983&bmUID=1202779306682&deptid=1408474396672839&ctgrid=1408474396672857&subctgrid=1408474396672983

02-11-2008, 09:52 PM
lil expensive for my taste :P..

I think I'll pick up the 'Arc-120 Welder' it has a nice range of volts and amperage

it should cost around 130$ total for the shipping and everything

02-11-2008, 10:11 PM
I had one of Harbor Freight's Arc 120 welders... it was a cute little rig, but about useless for anything other than thin (nonstructural) metal, and could not handle more than 1/16" rods. I paid $100 for it, managed to sell it for $60 on ebay.

I used to have a 240V, 150A Craftsman arc welder, and I could get that thing to run steel all day long, it was very sturdy. I bought (and sold) it for $75, and now wish I still had it.

Now I have a Century 230/140 AC/DC arc welder, and sometimes have a bit of trouble getting it to run without sticking or blowing holes. I don't know if it's the quality of the transformer inside (probably), but know that if you stick with the brand names, the quality improves immensely.

If you buy a welder first thing and know nothing about how to weld (or why to do it thus-and-such a way), you'll wind up with ugly welds and poor penetration, which means broken welds and aesthetically displeasing work. You'll get frustrated, blame the welder instead of your own abilities, and be soured on the whole experience.

Personally, I'd give that 120A arc welder a big old miss. Save your money, take a welding class, bring whatever you want welded to class and practice there. THEN, if you think it's something you'd like to do on your own, buy a welder.

02-11-2008, 10:32 PM
Thanks for the concern about saving my money.. but there are a couple of things..

I will be taking a welding class (hopefully soon I don't know when the first day I can go is) and should be able to learn how all different type of welders work.. Also, I know it isn't the welder's fault and all mine, (well 90% mine as I have read in every forum I have come across ;P) but I am the type of person where if I want it, I'll try until I get it no matter how long it takes.

Also with the July bike cruise, I will be working my butt off to bring my own masterpiece there to show you guys there is a newcomer that can make a name for himself (as I sure hope to do).

Also, I honestly have a 'good' four hours of solid time a day that I do virtually nothing with (aside from current non-stop reading on this subject) which will help to benifit me for lots of practice :)

The getting good welds part isn't of my worry.. it's knowing that I have good enough equipment to get the job done.

02-12-2008, 04:02 PM
I just found one one the same site.. that is virtually the same except it can go up to 140A and is $20 more..


Also, I don't really know what to look for in angle grinders..
Good find? or not?
http://www.canadiantire.ca/browse/product_detail.jsp?FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=140847439 6672863&PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524443300948&bmUID=1202850478935&assortment=primary&fromSearch=true

Richie Rich
02-12-2008, 07:19 PM
Also, I don't really know what to look for in angle grinders.. Here's the one I use....


I've got two of them. Great price and works fine for what we're doing here.

But what I like the most is the extremely safe momentary trigger-type power switch. Others have an on/off push switch mounted in an inconvenient place on the side of the tool. I find this dangerous especially if the tool should get away from you. It'll just keep running and could cause serious injury or damage. I'm speaking from personal experience.

I hope this helps......

........Richie >>

02-12-2008, 10:35 PM
i never would thought to look about that.. i assumed they were all triggers..

so I found out im a little slow with this online stuff... appearently shipping is a lot!
but! my bro is going to chi town soon and said he'd pick up the stuff for me :)

I'll be grabbing basically everything I need.. the only thing I still need an awnser to is, is the $20 really worth the extra 20A?

as in from a previous post:
Arc-120 Welder:
Arc-140 Welder:

Thanks a bunch guys.. you all are really awesome!

02-13-2008, 03:56 AM
You'll most probably be welding at 70-80 amps tops, so it probably doesn't matter.

02-13-2008, 09:42 AM
I don't see a difference between them. Note that all specs between them are IDENTICAL, except for their claimed max output current and max rod size. Bear in mind that the duty cycle of either unit is only 6% at 95A!! That means, for every 1 minute of weld time, you only get 3.6 SECONDS of valid power; after that, it drops off precipitously. If you crank either one past 95A, I doubt you'd even have the power to make the rod stick to the work, much less carve an arc with it. When I had one, I wasn't able to work with it much above 60A, and never had any luck with rods larger than 1/16".

Now, if you were to consider this 140A arc welder: http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=55195 THEN I would say it might be worth it. You may spend most of your time on the downhill side of 70A, but a larger/more powerful welder will have a better duty cycle in the range you'll be working, which means better penetration and less sticking.

I STILL say, though, that you should save your money and get a better welder. Brand names will have the support, better design, better durability, and more longetivity.

02-13-2008, 01:46 PM
I have no problems with my arc-120 welder as far as solid welds are concerned. The duty cycle for 115v @ 65 amps is 15%, or 9 seconds per minute. Plenty of time for a 1 1/2" bead. I set it at 70 amps, and use 5/64" rods, and keep the beads to 7 seconds max. I use a lot of tacks, so filling the gaps doesn't require long beads. (Something I learned from Paul Sr. on American Chopper - "Tack, tap in place. Tack, tap in place.")
Maybe I was lucky to get one that works well. Perhaps it was improved upon when it was refurbished, which is how I bought it. It stuck a lot for a while, but as I got better, the sticking diminished. I still have not mastered stick welding, and get stuck in tight places, even with my neighbor's Lincoln.

02-13-2008, 03:23 PM
Thanks a bunch guys.. I'll look into them more and hope I pick the right one for me :)

02-14-2008, 11:05 AM

have you looked at this? Its a really good 110V AC portawelder.


There are models down, but if you are going to be welding, you want as much dicersity as possible. You can get a 220V thermodyne unit used that is both mig and ARC used for the same price or less. Personally with the amount of welding I do outside I use either ARC or flux core, every once in a while when I get to weld inside I use MIG with gas, and its a treat. The one piece of advice about a welder I think you should heed before you buy is always buy a welder that does double what you are needing to weld. If you are using a welder near its max operating capacity, you are more prone to crappy welds, inclusions, under penetration etc. I can easily weld 3/16" mild steel tubing with mine, and its working at around 40% duty cycle, which is as hard as I'd push any portable welder so it lasts a long time.